I am a huge fan of Rocket Raccoon. I was psyched when I finally got to see the little guy in all his glory on the big screen. Thanks to the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, I get to look forward to more stories featuring Rocket. I have a confession to make before I go further with my review, though: I picked up Rocket #1 when it came out last July, I didn’t enjoy it and was reluctant to finish up the series even though I had read just the one issue.
The thought of Rocket Raccoon masterminding a heist sounded like an excellent idea, but I felt the first issue was missing something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Nonetheless, I collected the rest of the issues, but never read them. Then I got my hands on the trade, and decided to give Rocket: The Blue River Score another go.
Second time’s a charm?
Well, it’s better than I originally thought, but the book isn’t anything stellar. Rocket: The Blue River Score comes off as an intergalactic Ocean’s Eleven, with the furry guy filling the George Clooney role. Or for everyone who’s going to give me heat for saying Clooney, he fills the Frank Sinatra role. Better? Good, let’s move on. Otta Spice, a lady from Rocket’s past, walks back into his life, pleading him for help. Her home is in trouble. Beaverton Incorporated holds the deeds to her homeland and plans to dam the rivers for power. The deeds are being kept safe in a vault on Digriz, and as hard as Rocket tries to resist Otta, he finds himself agreeing to help his old flame.
If you are into 80s Marvel, you are in for a treat. Technet makes a comeback and teams up with Rocket, then they turn on Rocket, then maybe they team with Rocket again. There are multiple layers going on with Technet here. Rocket goes on quite the journey in this comic book. He finds himself locked up in jail, but we know that he isn’t going to stay in there long. He’s represented by a reptilian version of Matt Murdock named Murd, who leaves Rocket alone in court as a reptilian version of Elektra shows up, encouraging Murd to go with her to fight ninjas. Truly funny like that, unfortunately, are few and far between. Once Rocket is out, he finds out what’s really going on behind the scenes, and swings into action to right the wrong — even if it may result in heartbreak again.
So is Rocket: The Blue River Score worth the read?
If you’re a Rocket Raccoon fan, I caution you before reading this. The story takes place right after he returns from Earth, and while the Secret Empire arc is going on. So when Deadpool shows up, it feels awkward. Deadpool even makes references to events from Secret Empire, but why the hell is he in this book? Perhaps to drum up more sales? Any character could have played the temporary comedic sidekick, why Deadpool? Some of his lines are amusing, but he really feels tacked on, which sucks, because I am a Deadpool fan.
Al Ewing takes a different approach with prose running down the left side of the page throughout the book, acting as Rocket’s internal monologue. The monologue has a noir-ish vibe to it and was a different idea that I enjoyed. Ewing does a good job of breathing life into each of the characters introduced. Even the minor characters are given enough back story to make them meaningful in the narrative. They each have their own talents, personalities, and even their own accents. It truly feels like a gangster heist story. As I mentioned, though, the humor is a tad dry. There are some funny lines, but the story takes on more of a serious tone rather than the humorous one you would expect to see from a Rocket Raccoon book.
Adam Gorham does a great job balancing out the sci-fi action and the more serious moments, like the courtroom scene. The details he put into each character are as rich as the detail Ewing put into their personalities. Michael Garland’s colors are bold and beautiful to look at, but halfway through the book, I started to wonder if I would have liked the art more if it was strictly black and white, full on noir style.
I liked Rocket: The Blue River Score a lot more than I thought. The heist and gangster aspects of the book sync up well with Rocket. The love story and sappy parts felt off to me, but it’s a different take on Rocket Raccoon and I respect Al Ewing for that. If you’re looking for a new and different take on Rocket Raccoon, then Rocket: The Blue River score is for you!
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